News / USA

Defense Cuts Anger US Lawmakers

Defense Cuts Anger US Lawmakersi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2014 10:54 PM
Plans to shrink the United States military to levels not seen since World War II are not sitting well with many U.S. lawmakers. Some expressed their frustration and anger to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from Washington
Plans to shrink the United States military to levels not seen since World War II are not sitting well with many U.S. lawmakers.  Some expressed their frustration and anger to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  
With U.S. troops in Afghanistan, waiting to come home, anger is boiling over in Washington over the Defense Department's proposed budget cuts.  

Pointing to events in the Middle East and Ukraine, lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee challenged Hagel.

"This budget lacks a realistic assessment of the increased risks," said
Senator James Inhofe. "President Obama seems unwilling to accept that the tide of war is not receding."

Fellow Republican Senator John McCain was equally blunt.

"Your timing is exquisite. You're coming over here with a budget that we agree on, at least on the number, at a time when the world is probably more unsettled than it has been since the end of World War II," he said.

Hagel argued despite steep cuts, the proposed budget "matches resources to strategy."

"The events of the past week underscore the need for America's continued global engagement and leadership.  The president's defense budget reflects that reality," said Hagel.

Caps imposed by Congress are forcing the Pentagon to cut its budget to less than $500 billion, down about $200 billion from wartime highs.

To do that, officials propose reducing the number of Army troops from 520,000 to about 440,000 - the lowest since 1940.

And they're looking at eliminating older equipment like Cold War A-10 attack jets,  leaving what officials say would be a more modern force, better prepared to take on terrorists and more conventional forces.

It's all leaving lawmakers with a simple question.

"Does this preclude us from a full spectrum of operations?," asked Senator Jack Reed.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, admitted there are risks.

"One of those is the conventional fights, in particular land forces, which will take longer to generate," he said.

Hagel also warned against another $75 billion in cuts over the next two years under a budget deal struck by lawmakers last December.

"The result of sequestration level cuts would be a military that could not fulfill its defense strategy, putting at risk America's role as a guarantor of global security and ultimately its own security," he said.

The White House is proposing ways to free up additional funding for the military to help ease the pain, but it will be up to lawmakers to decide if and how that happens.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid